If you tell Cher she can’t do anything, chances are she’ll set out to do it.
That was more or less why she gave up music in the early 80s and took a step towards professional acting. The decision did not receive much support from those around her, who insisted that Cher could not be a serious actress since she was already a singer. However, Cher had dreamed of acting since she was a child and believed that she should not be one or the other.
“I feel like I’m a team player,” she said New York Times in 1987, “but I’m really stubborn. I want to do what I want. I think that’s an interesting thing about me.”
Cher had released at least one album – sometimes two – almost every year throughout the ’70s, most of which were met with disappointing commercial success. Her style ran from pop to disco to soft rock, but nothing seemed to stick with listeners or critics. She broke free I paralyze in 1982, before taking a break from music to pursue acting.
She hit the ground running and excelled, starring in five films between 1982-87 – Silk tree (1983), Maybe (1985), Assume (1987), The Witches of Eastwick (1987) and Moonstruck (1987). Critical praise followed for Cher’s enigmatic and riveting performances. She had had little formal training, yet seemed a natural fit as a confident and perceptive film actress.
More recently, Cher was well aware that being globally recognized was not necessarily the same as contributing something artistically meaningful to the world. “I understand how people with very mediocre talent can be the most famous people in the United States,” she said. “I was already famous, I don’t know how many times before I tried to do something good.”
Her long journey to this new career label began with her divorce from Sonny Bono in 1975. She had spent more than a decade as his wife and had never really felt that life was hers to control. “And then when I left him,” she said in one 1988 interview“I didn’t have the skills that a person really needed to take care of themselves in any way, career-wise, in any way, you know. I think I learned how to write a check when I was 27 . I never traveled alone, all sorts of weird things. I had to start from scratch and I made lots and lots of mistakes.”
Watch Cher’s video for ‘We All Sleep Alone’
Leaving Bono in search of himself was, as Cher once described it, “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” That meant not only ending her marriage, but ending the pop culture phenomenon that it was Sonny and Cher. “No decision I ever had to make after that was that difficult because of our intertwined relationship,” she said said in 1987, “but also, we were the most popular couple in America – and it was very hard to disappoint America.” Back in the country’s good graces, Cher remained very true to herself.
“My boyfriends are young, it’s true. My clothes are flamboyant,” she told them Times. “But am I a serious actress? I’m serious when I act. Will I behave in a way that other people feel is appropriate? I’m at peace with myself.”
John Kalodner of Geffen Records could not say the same. He went on to encourage Cher to reconsider the idea of making music. “He just kept bugging me and saying ‘You know, you really shouldn’t stop singing,'” Cher later revoked. “I thought maybe my best work was already over with singing.”
However, a comeback project took off, with submitted songs written by Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie SamboraJon Lind and Michael Bolton, among other. Cher re-entered the studio in 1986 with co-producer Peter Asher. The result was Chera shift back toward a rock-oriented sound that she said would not have been made without Kalodner’s encouragement.
Challenges remained: Cher had been gone long enough that it was sometimes difficult to find collaborators. “She came back and put out a record and nobody wanted to work with her, nobody wanted to write with her,” Sambora recounted American songwriter. “When Jon and I heard she was looking, we said, ‘We’d be honored.’ She’s such a legend.”
Sambora, Bon Jovi and Child ended up writing “We All Sleep Alone”, the second consecutive Top 20 single from Cherafter “I found someone.”
“We wanted to write for other people,” Bon Jovi added. “It was at the time when [Bryan] Adams made things for Tina Turner and a lot of it happened. So we would write with other people. It was for us that your peers said they liked your music.”
Listen to Cher’s ‘Perfection’
The sessions are also included Steve Lukather of Toto, Tony Levin of King CrimsonBill Payne by Little Feat and Maurice White of Earth, wind and fire. Two more notable guests, Bonnie Tyler and Darlene Love, appeared as backing vocalists on “Perfection,” a song written by Child and Diane Warren that hinted at Cher’s sometimes damaging tendency to exaggerate: “Be the best, prove them wrong / A winner’s work is never done.”
“Obviously,” she said in 1988, “it was written about me: ‘I have worn my pride as protection.’ It’s definitely a perfect line.”
Cher also revisited “Bang Bang,” a No. 2 hit written by her ex-husband that first appeared on her 1966 album The Sonny Side of Cher. It was a unique nod back to her past life, a life that hadn’t given Cher the kind of personal or creative freedom she longed for. “When I lived with Sonny, I was very uninteresting because I just did what he wanted,” she said, “and I thought that was what being a good wife was: to make him happy and do what he would. And then I realized I hated it.”
Published on Nov. 10, 1987, Cher became her first platinum-selling LP ever. To some extent, Cher wasn’t surprised: “I honestly think it’s the best album I’ve ever made,” she said at the time.
Promotional appearances for the record included a stop he Late night with David Letterman, in which Cher performed “I Found Someone”, a song Michael Bolton keyboardist Mark Mangold had originally written for Laura Branigan. She was also joined by Bono for a duet on their signature song “I Got You Babe”, in what would be their last performance together before her ex-husband’s death in 1998.
This album is the 32nd finish on Billboard chart was her highest since the ’70s, when Cher began an extended period of learning about herself through trial and error. She said the search would continue.
“I know I’ve done all this and I’ve done it so fast that I kind of have to figure out what’s missing and who I want to be,” Cher shared. Times. “It is much more important to like yourself than to have everyone else like you.”
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